Speech and Language Therapy Service under pressure

29th September 2023

  • The number and complexity of children with speech and language difficulties in Sheffield has been increasing in recent years, resulting in an ever-growing waiting list for the Speech and Language Therapy Service.

    It’s good news, then, that the service has recently received some additional funding to increase its capacity. On its own, however, this will not be enough to meet need. To cope with the increased demand, the service is making some changes to the way it operates:

    • From September 2023, speech and language therapists will change the way they work in special schools. They will identify one or two targets for each child and support those around them (school staff, parents etc.) with skills and resources to work towards these targets. Progress will be reviewed and new targets set as and when required.
    • From October 2023, the service will start to move towards a locality model. This means that a senior speech and language therapist will work with schools in a geographic area to increase their knowledge and skills, create communication-friendly environments and identify those children who need a referral to specialist speech and language services at an earlier point. The new approach will initially be trialled in locality E (Meadowhead and Newfield families of schools) before being rolled out to other areas of the city.
    • An online resource library has been created, allowing therapists to share training, resources and information more easily with parents, school staff and professionals. This resource is constantly being added to.

    Get involved! Join our Speech and Language Therapy subgroup where we talk to a speech therapist about proposed changes to speech and language therapy provision in Sheffield and give feedback. We also have themes for each meeting where we discuss strategies to support your children. For meeting dates, please see the Events section of this website.